The Oilers three Olympians have returned to Edmonton. Ales Hemsky was the lone non-participant at practice this morning, while defencemen Anton Belov and Martin Marincin are back in the fold.
“It was my first Olympic games, it was a very high level with a good organization and everything (was good) for us. But we (couldn’t) win,” said Belov who played for Russia.
Belov was thrown into a unique pressure situation in Sochi, playing for the host country on home soil in his first Olympics.
“Yes, for sure, (there was pressure) because this was home Olympic games but when I was on the ice, I (didn’t) think about it,” he said.
Belov finished with the tournament with one goal in five games and averaged 13:21 of ice time.
Marincin, the youngest of the Oilers Olympians, had a great showing at the games, despite what his numbers may indicate. The 22-year-old blueliner played in all four games for Slovakia and finished -4. He gained more minutes with each game and finished averaging 17:04 of ice time.
“That was great for me,” he said. “I played a lot. The first few games we played… with eight defencemen, so my ice time was not good. But then we played with six defencemen and my ice time (went) up. That was good.”
Marincin’s favourite part of the tournament was Slovakia’s 1-0 shootout loss to Russia. It was a good game for the young d-man’s home country.
“First, playing for my country (and) to be in this tournament. I liked our game with Russia. We played very good. It was after the shootout that we lost. I think that was the best game.”
It’s been a great season for Marincin. The NHL rookie is beginning to show the Oilers and their fans that he belongs in the NHL and they made the right decision when the team selected him 46th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
“This season, every time is something good for me. I got a chance in the NHL, I got a lot of experience here and now I (went) to Sochi and got a lot of experience there. Every time I’m learning something new.”